01/12/2015 5:00 PM
JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks announced Monday that the team has made another major addition to the team via free agency, as defensive lineman Joe Sykes has been assigned to the Jacksonville roster on a one-year contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Joe’s track record as a dominant pass rusher in this league speaks for itself,” Sharks head coach Les Moss said. “He has shown the ability to provide consistent pressure off the edge throughout his career, and we’re excited to have him lining up on our side this season.”
The 32-year-old Sykes (6’5”, 290) enters his fifth Arena Football Season as perhaps the most decorated pass rusher in recent League history. He earned Riddell Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2012, won the Game Tape Exchange Defensive Lineman of the Year award in both 2012 and 2013, as was tabbed as a First Team All-Arena honoree in those two seasons as well.
Most recently, Sykes played in seven games with the San Jose SaberCats during the 2014 season. Joining San Jose in May after a stint with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, Sykes racked up 6.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, an interception and three pass breakups in those seven contests.
Sykes spent one season with the San Antonio Talons, earning Defensive Lineman of the Year and First Team All-Arena honors in an outstanding 2013 season. With the Talons, Sykes led all AFL pass rushers with 18.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks, adding four forced fumbles, five pass breakups and an interception. Playing in all 18 of the Talons’ games that season, Sykes recorded at least a partial tackle for loss on 12 separate occasions.
The previous year, Sykes put together an even more dominant campaign in his first stint with the SaberCats. In 2012, Sykes established a new single-season League record with 16 sacks, and also led all AFL pass rushers with 18 tackles for loss. To go along with those stops, Sykes added five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, five pass breakups and an interception. Sykes racked up two or more sacks in five separate games during that incredible campaign.
Sykes first broke into the AFL with the Milwaukee Iron in 2010, as he totaled five tackles and one fumble recovery in limited action. Sykes first entered professional football as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins in 2006, and his storied career also includes stops with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimos, as well as the Green Bay Blizzard of af2.
A native of Grenada, Mississippi, Sykes finished his collegiate career at Southern University, where he led his team with 12 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks as a senior in 2005.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season Tickets for the 2015 season are now available, two tickets for as low as $99. To purchase your season tickets or for more information, please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire 2014 season. The AFL schedule culminates each season with the ArenaBowl on ESPN.